Smalhans Smalhans


Lindstrøm LindstrømSmalhans

8 / 10

In his review of “ Six Cups Of Rebel”, our friend and colleague Iván Conte stood up and defended what many Lindstrøm fans refused to accept: that the Nordic God of cosmic disco was shoving aside his classic arpeggio accelerations in order to experiment with slower tempos, in search of a funk kind of placidity. It shouldn't come as a surprise if you've followed the man over the past few years – even his LP with Christabelle is full of organic, almost trip-hop-like moments. The thing with “Six Cups Of Rebel” was that it was the official follow-up to “Where You Go I Go Too” (2008), four years after that definitive and defining cosmic revival album, and the expectations were different, especially after so many years. But maybe precisely because four years had gone by, Lindstrøm felt free to do something else (at least sound-wise, not spirit-wise, as his heart will always lie with the synthetic music of the late 70s and early 80s), and that time will tell what the record will mean in the rest of his career. In any case, yours truly concurs with Conte: the album was good, that is, if you didn't want an exact copy of its predecessor.

Paradoxically, before the year has even ended, Lindstrøm has another LP out, and he turns things inside out once more. “Smalhans” knows no pause, no hesitations, it sounds vibrant, analogue and elastic, and it's the dance album that takes the baton (both in spirit and in form) of “Where You Go I Go Too” - just six cuts in little over a half hour (which is curious, as on that debut full-length the first track alone was 30 minutes long), on which Hans-Peter returns to his original sound, inspired by masters of the electronic odyssey like Cerrone, Moroder, and Patrick Cowley. And he takes no prisoners while doing so: right from the start with “Raakost”, with a circular and mechanical beat (which, nevertheless, doesn't sound like a loop, as if there were light changes in the pitch, as if it were played by a human instead of a machine), and simple melodic bubbles made with an abundance of vintage synths. The same structure and intentions can be heard on “Lammelaar”, “Eggedosis”, and, well, all other tracks. With one nuance: while on “Where I Go You Go Too” the songs were long and divided in movements, like a disco symphony, here Lindstrøm decided not to link the moments of climax, but rather opts for 'songs'. The six tracks on the LP have a certain pop feel, they sound toned with recognisable hooks (the Italo touch on “Vossakorv” is delicious, like the perfect meeting between Norwegian cosmic disco and Daft Punk's kitsch, while “Faarikaal” melts like cheese in the sun) that force one to listen to them over and over again.

When it comes to urgency and faultlessness, “Smalhans” beats “Six Cups Of Rebel”. That could seem a loss for Lindstrøm's first album of this year, but you shouldn't read it like that: the first sounded daring and solid, with a sudden and unexpected change of register; the circumstances were risky, but he pulled it off. But “Smalhans” is completely recognisable for its sound and ethics, and it's titanic almost from start to finish (by the way, the final track, “Vafler”, is a synthesiser stampede that unites Jean Michel Jarre's symphonic epic with Hi-NRG without it becoming cheesy). The more you get into it, the more it becomes obvious that this is the real follow-up to “Where You Go I Go Too”. Very well played: it meets the expectations when nobody was expecting anything, like a sucker punch, but in a good way. Add to that the track titles, all based on typical Norwegian dishes, and the conclusion can be only one: this tastes like glory.

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